Posts from Streaming media

Feature Friday: Sync To Mobile

It's getting colder in NYC. Instead of walking home yesterday evening, I ducked into the Union Square subway station. I pulled out my android phone, launched the Rdio app, and looked through my collection for music to listen to. There is no wifi in the Union Square subway station, but that wasn't a problem. Because I have sync'd much of my Rdio collection to my mobile phone. I put on Keep Shelly In Athens and headed home.

The knock against streaming media services is "what happens when you don't have internet access?" It's a good question. But fortunately most of the streaming music services have "sync to mobile" enabled. When you add a song or album to your collection in Rdio (my favorite of the streaming music services), you simply check the "sync to mobile" option and your phone will pull that down onto your phone for offline listening. I have my Rdio app set to only sync to mobile when it is on a wifi connection, but you can set it to sync to mobile anytime it has an internet connection.

Someday we'll have wifi in the Union Square subway station. We've got it on the L train from 6th avenue to 8th avenue now. The list of places you don't have internet is getting smaller by the day. But until the day when we have internet everywhere, sync to mobile is a killer feature for streaming services. And that is why it is the feature of the day today.


SoundCloud & Tumblr

I'm very excited this morning. I got to do something that I've wanted to do most every day for the past few years. I posted my song of the day from SoundCloud to Tumblr.


For those that don't know, I post a song every day to Tumblr. It shows up on my tumblog and is the first song on my internet radio stream,

I spend hours every day streaming music on the web and mobile and when I discover something great, I add it to the list of songs to post to Tumblr. Many times, I discover the music on SoundCloud. But getting the song from SoundCloud to Tumblr has hard and at times impossible. Many tracks on SoundCloud don't allow download of the mp3. And so I've had to go out on the web and find the mp3 somewhere else. And there are times when it is not on the web in mp3 form. It's a time consuming and often futile exercise.

Sometime in the past day or two, Tumblr added the ability to enter a soundcloud URL into the audio posting flow. I discovered it this morning. And almost jumped out of my chair with joy.

I hope that SoundCloud adds a share to Tumblr link in their UI soon. That will make it even easier.

But what we've got now is great and I'm very very happy about it.

Here are some other tumbloggers who are using the SoundCloud/Tumblr integration this morning:

Kirk Love with Santogold and The Beastie Boys

Andy Weissman with Vetiver


#My Music#Web/Tech

The Internet Radio "Super Demographic"

Our portfolio company TargetSpot recently conducted two large research studies on the Internet Radio listener. For those that don't know, TargetSpot is the leading third party advertising network for streaming audio.

I've been an Internet Radio/Streaming Audio listener for over a decade and have always thought that Internet Radio listeners represented an ideal demographic for marketers to reach and influence. The TargetSpot research confirms that and then some. Internet Radio listeners are a "super demographic" and marketers should pay attention to this research and start creating programs to reach them.

Here are some of the findings:

– 39% of the US population listens to Internet Radio regularly

– Internet Radio listeners are affluent and influential

– 80% of Internet Radio listeners spend between 1 & 3 hours per day listening

– 45% of Internet Radio listeners listen on a phone and 14% listen on a tablet

– 73% change stations throughout the day. Internet Radio listeners are not exclusive to any one service

– 56% listen to Internet Radio while shopping

– running an Internet Radio campaign in parallel with a broadcast radio campaign increases response 3.5x

– running an Internet Radio campaign in parallel with an internet banner campaign increases response 2x

The way I see it (confirmed by this research) Internet Radio listeners are the leading edge/cutting edge demographic that try out new things first, recommend them to their friends, and provide the word of mouth mojo marketers are looking for. And they are available to be reached on average a couple hours every day. That's a super demographic to market to.


Lockers vs Streaming Services

I'm on vacation so I'll keep this short.

I don't get the idea of music locker services like the one Amazon just announced. If I'm going to stream music from the cloud, why should I continue to buy files and collect them? I've been a Rhapsody subscriber for something like 11 or 12 years and although it has taken a while to get used to, I vastly prefer subscription streaming services over file based music. I've just stared using rdio on my Android and on the web and I love it too. I've used Spotify and it is also excellent (once it is fully licensed in the US).

Locker services seem like they are designed to continue the physical model of collecting music and buying music when there is a new and better way – just subscribe to music dial tone and listen to whatever you want wherever you want.

I'm bearish on locker services and bullish on subscription streaming services.

#My Music#Web/Tech

Monetizing Mobile Audio

I'm going to the gym in a few minutes. I'll bring my android and stream some music while I'm on the treadmill. Maybe I'll listen to my soundcloud dropbox, or maybe I'll check out the popular tracks on hypem, or maybe I'll listen to some I stream music on my mobile phone all the time. I don't have a single mp3 on my android and I don't have any desire to put any on it.

This is the future. We won't be buying files, moving files, and listening to files. We'll be streaming audio from the cloud onto our connected devices in our homes and offices, and onto our mobile devices at the gym, on the bike, in the car, etc. And I think mobile streaming audio is going to be huge.

How will the mobile audio streaming services make money? Some will charge a subscription. But I believe, like the radio industry for the past 50 years, most will make money by running commercial messages in the stream once or twice an hour.

And yesterday, our portfolio company Targetspot, launched the first mobile audio ad network. Initial mobile streamers include AOL Radio, Yahoo Music, CBS Radio, and

Targetspot built and operates the largest streaming audio advertising network and has been the leader in this market for the past three years. This move into mobile is very exciting to me because it will allow advertisers to reach music and audio listeners when they are out and about. Imagine combining mobile audio advertising with geolocation and time of day targeting.  Imagine hearing a Starbucks audio ad on your morning run alerting you to a discount on expresso drinks at the store a block away?

But most importantly, this mobile audio ad network provides a much needed monetization system for mobile audio apps (and actually any mobile app that wants to run audio spots). I believe Targetspot's mobile audio ad network will allow developers to build and launch innovative new streaming audio apps and make money from them.

If you have a mobile app that streams audio or that you would like to run audio advertising in, please contact the Targetspot team and they will give you the tools to build audio advertising into your mobile app.

#Music#VC & Technology#Web/Tech

What Does The Internet Mean For Radio?

I'm sitting here writing a blog post and listening to my radio station, And I'm thinking about what the Internet means for radio. The reason is next Tuesday afternoon at 3:40pm I'm going to sit down with my friend David Goodman and Joe Crump from Razorfish and try to answer that very question. We'll be at the Radio Ink Forecast 2011 conference at the Harvard Club. If you work in the streaming media or radio industry, maybe I'll see you there.

David and I were talking the other night about this session and what we should talk about. We agreed that we should throw it open to all the readers of AVC to make sure we are talking about the most important issues. So, if you were coming to see this talk, what do you think we should talk about and what do you think the Internet means for Radio?

Answers in the comments please.

#My Music#Web/Tech

Airport Express and Airfoil

We've had all sorts of digital music systems over the years. And they keep getting cheaper, simpler, and better.

We started over a decade ago with an over the top multi-room system that was built on Audio Request music servers and controlled by Crestron. We scrapped that system about five years ago (although I kept two of those music servers for each home we own). We moved to a Sonos based system. We still use that in the main rooms of the homes we own.

But my current favorite music system is an Airport Express connected to a simple and cheap amplifier and speakers. We use that in all of our kids' bedrooms and increasingly in other rooms in our homes like our guest rooms. Basically you bring your laptop and iTunes library and we provide the sound system. I like it very much.

But my main beef with the Airport Express is it is limited to iTunes. In the past couple weeks, two friends mentioned Airfoil to me. So yesterday I downloaded Airfoil to my laptop and gave it a whirl. Basically Airfoil intercepts any audio stream on your machine and sends it to the Airport Express.

This is the perfect freemium experience. I downloaded it and tested it by playing in my Chrome browser and it played flawlessly on the music system in our beach house. I've been wanting to have on our pool deck for years now. I've got it now. Sweet.

So of course I bought a five license bundle just now for $46. We'll have Airfoil on all of our laptops before the day is over.

Of course Apple should offer this feature built in on the Airport Express. There are a lot of things Apple should do. I've given up hoping or expecting them to do it. I'm just happy some crafty software engineers built the hack we all want. Thanks Airfoil.

When our oldest daughter came home from college this year, we had already moved into our new apartment. I showed her how the Airport Express worked in her new room. She said, "cool, how do I play radio on it." I didn't have a good answer for her. Now I do. That's progress and I'm really excited about it.

#My Music#Web/Tech

Mobile Audio

There's a reason why radio and outdoor (billboard) advertising together became a $30bn to $50bn annual domestic market. When people are mobile, like driving a car, they are not reading, they are not watching video, they are not opening email. At least they should not be doing those sorts of things while driving a car.

While radio and billboards will still be attractive advertising opportunities for some time to come, there is a new way to reach the mobile consumer – on his or her phone.

I'm not talking about calling you or text messaging you on your phone. I am talking about when you connect your android phone into your car's audio jack or when you put on your iPhone headphones and hop on the treadmill at the gym.

In these situations, you are likely listening to audio and increasingly streaming audio. That audio stream can contain commercial messaging if it is done right. And because the phone, as opposed to the car radio or the billboard, knows a lot about you, including where you are, the messaging can be targeted (ie made relevant).

This is the opportunity our portfolio company TargetSpot was built to go after. When the company was started, it decided to focus on terrestrial radio companies and help them monetize their internet streams. It is the leader in that market today. Then it added "pure play internet radio" providers like Yahoo! Music, MySpace Music, and AOL Radio to it's network and further solidified its lead.

And today, TargetSpot is rolling out its first mobile audio advertising service, in partnership with Slacker. If you want to reach people who are listening to streaming audio via their phones in their cars, in the gym, at work, and at home you now can do that via TargetSpot.

Slacker is one of several streaming audio companies focused on the mobile phone. Others include Pandora and I expect we'll see hundreds of providers over time.

And I expect that we'll find out that the audio format is one of the most powerful forms of mobile advertising. Just like it has been in the offline world for the past century.

Enhanced by Zemanta

#VC & Technology

Vevo: First Thoughts

So Google and the music industry have teamed up to create Vevo, which aims to corral all music videos into a separate part of YouTube where they will be monetized by higher quality (and higher cost) video advertising.

Vevo launched last night and I spent some time on it this morning. At first look, I'm not sure I get this thing.

The first thing I did is search for Arctic Monkeys and I get a response that there are no results for that term.

Second thing I did is click on the link to Kid Cudi and watch the Pursuit Of Happiness video. But before I could watch that I had to sit through a 15 second AT&T pre-roll. That's not a great experience. I wonder if people will really sit through a 15 second pre-roll to watch a music video.

Then I went to YouTube and did a search for Kid Cudi Pursuit Of Happiness. The video I saw on Vevo is absolutely not on YouTube, but there are plenty of Pursuit Of Happiness videos there to watch including a really cool Steve Aoki remix.

Then I went to Google and did a search on Kid Cudi Pursuit Of Happiness and there are links to a bunch of videos on YouTube and but no links to Vevo.

It's probably that Vevo is not completely rolled out yet but it would seem to me that for it to be successful, the Vevo videos will have to show up in YouTube and Google search results. And they don't right now.

It is absolutely true that for many, YouTube is their streaming music service. There is so much music on YouTube. You can get a result for most any song you look for. So it makes sense that the music industry is trying to get its arms around this new form of music discovery and listening.

But I wonder if cordoning off the "official" music videos into a separate site will achieve this goal. We'll see. I'm not that optimistic about this one.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
#My Music#Web/Tech